Rule #10: Make a Plan, But Always Be Prepared to Edit

As a writer, I know all too well the evil twin of editing. The words birthed from the mind of a writer grow into lovely sentences, paragraphs, then pages. And, before you know it, when you send them out into the world, they have to withstand the brutal impact of cutting, hacking and pasting over said words’ blissful, original intentions. But it’s inevitable. It’s hard to swallow. And, more often than not, it’s for the better.

It’s kind of like planning, when you’re a mom. We love to create these memory book/Facebook-perfect plans. Man, women, do we seriously try! But then Plan B, C, and D through Z hit you in the face like puke on a car seat. That happened to me, actually, midway through a perfectly planned family vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth.

Want to hear more examples? (To be fair, it’ll make us all feel better.) There are always the unforeseen injuries and sicknesses that thwart my big Plan A’s. These are deal breakers. Like my eldest son’s broken ankle on the first day of basketball camp on the first week of summer break. That certainly forced a massive edit on a planned schedule of active summer days running that little ankle around playgrounds and soccer fields, and dunking it into the pool water and ocean surf. The aforementioned vomit analogy would apply to all the times that hellish stomach bug has invaded the boys’ bellies, taking over the thought of any activity beyond running from the bed in a fetal position to child pose at the toilet bowl.

There are countless more edited plans that have been less dramatic (like punishments for the boys’ messy rooms trumping a fun day you planned at the zoo or your toddler refusing to do naptime as usual through the “Star Wars” movie you planned to watch at the theater, but now Plan B has you pushing the stroller in laps in the lobby while popping Mike & Ikes), and I’m sure all moms have their own bucketful of memories they could dump out. Unfortunately, it’s something that just comes with the territory. Things don’t go as planned. But you know what? Edited plans also have some sort of silver lining.

Yep, I said it. Hear me out. The storm of pain, headaches, stress and worry give way to some sort (albeit, harsh) of sunray of a reality check. I’m not saying it’s the old adage that “everything happens for a reason.” That’s apathetic and annoying. It’s just that sometimes these backup plans force you to witness some beautiful things you might not have otherwise seen.

Things like the way your son concentrates on piecing the corners of a puzzle first, then the center of the picture, like you do. Or how he sweetly hums off-key to a song he doesn’t know on the radio. Or how his hazel eyes are rimmed by flecks of copper light. My eyes and ears open wider, my pace is slower. And I appreciate the simple treasures when big plans are sabotaged. God certainly gives me a good kick-in-the-butt reminder that life will still go on without my grandiose plans.

Not to say I still don’t pout about it inside. Sometimes there just aren’t enough words to edit.



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